Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Questions (231)

Willie Penrose


231. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the precise nature of new regulations which have been introduced regarding licensing requirements for persons who are driving vehicles which have trailers attached; the reason the position pertains whereby persons have to obtain a class B on their licence and that same is restricted to those who have secured a licence prior to 13 November 1989, as many persons, particularly farmers during the 1990s, have gained significant competency in driving vehicles with trailers attached and are now being forced under this new regulation to resit their test to achieve the required class on their driver's licence; if same will be reviewed in a reasonable way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45330/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Before 1989, there was one category of driving licence for driving a car or a car with a trailer.  In the 1989 Regulations this was changed to provide for two separate categories, one for cars alone and one for cars with trailers.  People who previously had a licence for cars could apply for both when renewing their licences.  It would appear that some people did not realise this at the time of renewing their licences, and therefore unintentionally lost their trailer entitlement.  

There have been several changes to Regulations since that time.  The categories under which we operate at present are set in EU law.  The Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 483 of 2011) represents the transposition of Directive 2006/126/EC into Irish law, and came into effect on 19 January 2013.  Under these Regulations, Category B covers a car plus trailer up to 750kg, B with code 106 is a car plus trailer which can be over 750kg provided the combination of car plus trailer is not over 4250kg, and BE is car plus trailer not exceeding 3500kg.  

Earlier this year, I received representations from farming organisations suggesting that many farmers who had a car licence before the 1989 Regulations came into effect, had unintentionally lost their trailer entitlement by not ticking the appropriate box on the form when applying for renewal.  I agreed to make an exceptional allowance for people in this position - whether farmers or not - to reclaim the trailer entitlement, where they could prove that they had previously held it.  The RSA has made arrangements to accommodate drivers in this position for a limited period.